This post is sponsored by SheKnows Media
On March 28, I headed to NYC to join women sharing the same journey as I do – living with endometriosis. I attended the Wine & Gyn event, organized by SheKnows Media to talk about endometriosis. It was so empowering to be surrounded by women who understand, feel, or go through the pain that I’ve been dealing with since I was 16. Listening to the speakers and moderator, I was filled with emotions. Often times, teary-eyed, because they get me. I get them. And it felt amazing.
Wine & Gyn Event
The Wine & Gyn event was an informative and honest discussion about endometriosis, in connection with Endometriosis Awareness Month. It was held at Estancia 460.
The panel of experts included endometriosis advocate, April Christina of @endonme, NYC Pelvic Pain Specialist Osteopathic Physician Dr. Tayyaba Ahmed, D.O., and chronic illness advocate, Nitika Chopra as moderator. It was about cultivating a supportive community of women who are all in the same boat as I am, sharing similar health experiences and concerns. While I’ve had endometriosis since I was in high school, I still learned a lot listening to these panelists. So below, I’m listing down some of the take-aways from this event, in hopes that someone out there who is dealing with the same health concern can benefit from these tips.
Helpful Tips Dealings with Endometriosis
- Take notes. In fact, you can even have a dedicated journal just for your periods and pains. I know I used to write my periods and how painful they were back when it was the worst of times. But when it’s mild, I forget to do so. So, I’m going back to taking those notes down. But as I learned from April Christina, I’m going to be more thorough about it. I’ll get a small dedicated journal just for my endo. So not only will I write down how painful it was, but also what I did that day, including the food and drink that may have triggered it, so that I can go back and check if certain foods or exercises make my periods more painful. It’s also a great resource to share with my doctor.
- Find a Doctor you connect with. Listening to Dr. Ahmed talk about how she feels rewarded when she treats her patients makes me want to find a doctor who will feel the same way. More often than not, I get discouraged seeing a doctor who doesn’t seem to care. Like there’s no connection at all, not asking you how you REALLY feel. That’s how I felt with my last doctor. So now I’m on the hunt for a doctor who will feel rewarded treating my endometriosis and fertility issues.
- Trust your gut. A lot of times, I hear other women saying their doctors don’t believe them when they say they are in so much pain. Other people dismiss it thinking it’s normal and just comes with your period. If you think you’re in a lot of pain… if you think something is wrong… you should trust your gut. If one doctor tells you to just take pain medications or birth control pills, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. See another doctor. Don’t be afraid to do your own research. What was surprising listening to Dr. Ahmed was that she was open to her patients googling about their condition – something that other doctors won’t be happy about. But let’s think about it for a second. What’s wrong about researching about our symptoms and discussing that with our doctor? Sometimes, we go to an appointment without knowledge of what to ask or what information to share. When we do our research, we get an idea of what kind of info to tell our doctor so he or she can better treat us.
- Drop the shame and don’t isolate. Afraid to talk about your pain? Ashamed to tell anyone about your condition? Don’t be. For a time, I used to share regularly about my endo pain in my older blog. But after a while, I felt I maybe posting too much and turning off my readers. So, I stopped. But earlier this month, I posted something on my Instagram. And you guys, I did not expect such support! After posting that photo, I had dinner and didn’t come back to my phone until later that night. I opened my phone to a ton of notifications and immediately, tears started rolling down. I felt touched and loved by you all. And at the same time, it opened up new connections with other endo sisters dealing with the same pain. It was a breath of fresh air. You should try it too. Be more open about endometriosis because you’ll never know how you can be helping other women who are dealing with the same thing.
- Acknowledge your pain. While we strive to get better and try to live our lives like others, we have to acknowledge that sometimes, we just can’t do certain things because of our condition. And that’s okay. We have to acknowledge our pain. Like for example, there are certain workouts that we can’t do. Heavy lifting is not good, but we can do yoga and swimming. There are certain foods that are better for us and there are those that we have to avoid. Of course, all these things can be subjective. And that leads me back to the number 1 tip here to jot down notes to understand what works better for us and what doesn’t.
There were many other things that I learned from the Wine & Gyn event that I’d love to share more in the coming days. If you’re also battling endometriosis, don’t be afraid to message or email me so we can talk about our experiences or if you have any questions, I’d be happy to help. Like I said, I’ve had endo since I was in high school. But I was only diagnosed 12 years later, after going to a new OB-GYN who knew better.
I will never forget the first episode of my endometriosis, when blood literally flowed through my legs right after coming out of the bathroom to change my pad. That led me being rushed to the ER to get blood transfusion right away. I needed 4 bags. I knew back then this was something. But it was dismissed as a “hormonal imbalance”. I was young and didn’t know better. But my gut told me it was not normal. It took 12 years to get diagnosed. I hope it won’t take you that long. Let’s all spread information about endometriosis and help each other out.